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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  November 6, 2010 2:00pm-3:00pm EDT

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pe have any of you asked yourself that? yoursel do you know why? no. and this is when it was still happening. the russians and the chechens in chechnya were having tremendouse struggles. w so why are white americans melled chechens? white a at [laughter] well, i did finally answer. the answer took me to germany i did find the answer which took me to germany in the 18th-century. the idea of race was invented in the 18th-century. it doesn't go back to antiquity. there were not white people in antiquity, since so many people thought that, my book actually starts with the greeks and romans and their commentary on
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the people who became europeans. what the greeks and romans discovered were people who live in various ways. the talk about what we call culture and for the romans who work in various ways because the romans were imperialists and very interested in who was a good fighter and who could help and had to be vanquished. i followed this german idea into the united states, a french intellectual and thomas carlyle who was a british intellectual and ralph waldo emerson. i spend a long time with ralph waldo emerson, who was the kind of genius of the nineteenth
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century white race theory. ralph waldo emerson didn't have a lot to say about black people but he had a lot to say about white people. in the nineteenth century, the idea prevailed that there were many white races. so there were people who were considered white. no one could question their white this. very clearly the irish were white. people descended from english or scottish people or german people but they belong to to different races. they were white but the long to different races. the irish catholics were thought to belong to the caltech race and people descended from english people were thought to belong to the sex and race and the saxons were better than the celts.
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it was not until the middle of the 20th century which many of us remember vividly that the idea of one big white race came into being in which everybody who was white was the same as everybody else. it is not an accident that that happened through politics. it happened through the national mobilization of the great depression, the second world war, and the federal policies crafted after based in politics. to watch this program in its entirety, go to book tv board. simply type the title are the authors mean at the top left of the screen and click search. >> the wife of civil rights activist rosa parks is discussed in danielle mcguire's macbook
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"at the dark end of the street." the decatur library in decatur, georgia, hosts this hour-long event. >> good evening, everyone. ibm bill starts, executive director of the georgia center for the book, and we are the host for this evening's program. we welcome all of you. rosa parks is one of the truly iconic figures of the civil-rights movement. we know her as the older quiet woman who is tired feet led her to defy segregation on montgomery alabama bus is back in 1955. her courageous, spontaneous refusal to give up her seat to a white man sparked the bus boycott which gave birth to an entire movement. that's what we've been told up until now. but do we really know rosa parks kind the answer according to our
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guest this evening is very definitely no. we welcome to the center of the but tonight dr. danielle mcguire, assistant professor of history at wayne state university in detroit. her new book is "at the dark end of the street: black women, rape, and resistance - a new history of the civil rights movement from rosa parks to the rise of black power" published by alfred wayne knopff. it doesn't share new light on rosa parks and the beginning of a civil movement. it offers nothing less than a new way of approaching and understanding both the women's history and the underpinning of the civil rights movement. it is scholarly yet retain negative the trees is a sort of history of violence directed against black women and the jim crow era and eliminates all the little known actions of rosa parks long before that bus boycott helped create the impetus for civil rights
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movement. historian neil irwin paynter says that dr. mcguire's book, and this is a quote, details the exhort tactic of rate of black women and the everyday practice of southern white supremacy. just as important she plots resistance against this outrage, the civil rights movement of the 1950's and 60's. provoke is as essential as its history as infuriating. please join me in welcoming dr. danielle l. mcguire. [applause] >> thank you so much especially to the georgia center for the book for inviting me here. and for the decatur public library for hosting this tonight and of course to all of you for bearing with me through this presentation. i'm thrilled that you're here tonight to beat 1944 in alabama,
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a black woman named recy tayler walked home from a church. a carload of white men kidnapped her off the street, drove her to the woods and the bertinelli gang raped her. when they finished, the director of the middle of town and threatened to kill her if she told anyone what happened. that might she told her father, her husband and the local sheriff the details of the brutal assault. a few days later the montgomery called to say they were sending their very best investigator. her name was rosa parks. it was 11 years before the montgomery bus boycott committee 11 years later the home grown activist would be better known as the montgomery improvement association daunting its president as a martin luther king jr. international prominent launching a movement that will ultimately change the world. rosa parks.
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stories back to montgomery where she and the city's most activists organized national and international protests for equal justice for mrs. recy taylor to read the call that the strong campaign for equal justice to be seen in a decade. but when the coalition first took root the would later become the montgomery improvement association, dr. king was still in high school. the 1955 montgomery bus boycott heralded as the opening scene of the civil-rights drama in many ways was the last act on the decade-long struggle to protect african american women like recy taylor from sexualize the violence and rape. in fact, the kidnapping and rape of wayne recy taylor isn't unusn the south. from slavery to the better part of the 20th century, white men abducted and assaulted a black women with alarming regularity and often and unity.
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the women and girls were away from work with promises of steady pay and better wages. they have them at gunpoint while traveling to or from home, work or church and sexually humiliating, harassed and assaulted them on buses and theaters and other places of public space. this is a pattern throughout the south during the 1940's and the 1950's and underscores the limits of southern justice. but black women did not keep their stories secret. the week in their humanity by testifying about these brutal assaults and their testimony is often have a larger campaign for civil rights and human dignity. in fact even the most awful campaigns for civil rights, montgomery, birmingham, selma, the 1954 freedom summer in mississippi. they often have an unexamined
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history of the gendered political appeals to protect women from sexual violence. now most of you here tonight probably knows something about the montgomery bus boycott. according to popular history, who and what caused the boycott? anyone? rosa parks, and what was it about rosa parks? what caused her to decide the will on the bus? she was tired. she had tired feet. that's right, she had tired feet. well, when asked the same question, the former editor of the montgomery advertiser talked about somebody else. he talked about gertrude parkinson and this is what he had to say. perkins is not even mentioned in the history books and she had as much to do with the bus boycott and its creation has anyone on earth.
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>> now, gertrude perkins to remember her 40 years after the fact when he gave this interview yet most of the bus boycott failed to mention her name, and if you or anything like me when hearing this, you're like who the heck is gertrude parkin squawks well, gertrude perkins is an african-american woman, 25-years-old who is an abducted and assaulted by two white montgomery police officers marched on ascent, 1949. i will let them explain what happened that night. >> the policeman picked her up on the railroad and had all types of toxic relation with her in that particular time and when they put her out she came to my door and told me what had happened to her. i sat down and wrote what she
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said had happened to her word by word. when she had finished, i had notarized to washington and he went [inaudible] what happened to her was all over the nation. >> after gertrude perkins told the reverend what happened, she somehow mustered the courage to report the crime to the police, perhaps even the same man who had raped her. not surprisingly the police dismissed her claim and accused her of lying. the mayor claim to perkins charged with, quote come completely false. and he settled in a line of issuing any warrant what set a bad precedent. besides, he said, white policemen would not do a thing like that. but blacks in montgomery knew better.
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the montgomery police force and a reputation for rapists and sexual brutality. in fact, just a few years earlier, police had conducted and rate the 16-year-old daughter of a black woman who challenged the police officer on a bus one day. word of the attack on gertrude perkins, women, naacp activists, labor leaders and ministers rallied to a grievance. they form an umbrella organization called the citizens committee for gertrude perkins, and they demanded an investigation and trial. the public protest garnered enough attention to keep the story on the front pages of the daily newspaper, the montgomery advertiser, for nearly two months. the sustained attention finally forced a grand jury hearing for gertrude perkins testified on her own behalf. the county solicitor accused her of lying, but she stood her ground and maintain her composure. her brief testimony did not
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impact the all white all male jury however who failed to indict any of the officers. in an editorial designed to put any hard feelings to rest, the montgomery advertiser said the case ran the full process of our system of justice. what more could have been done? well, members of the citizens committee for gertrude perkins would have preferred an indictment and a lengthy jail sentence, but they were thrilled with the amount of public protest that their campaign had yielded. but montgomery seem to have more of its fair share of what was called sex cases. in fact, the recy taylor and gertrude perkins cases did not occur in isolation. in february, 1951, a white grocery store owner named sam greene great a black teenager. green in plater as a babysitter and frequently drove her home after her shift. one might people to the site of
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a quiet road and raped her. that night she went home, told her parents what happened and they decided to press charges. when an all white jury returned a not guilty verdict for delivery during after only five minutes the family reached out to a world war ii veteran and serrated football coach at alabama state university. flucas, along with edie nixon, head of the naacp and head of the alabama of brotherhood, to organize the campaign to boycott. they brought together womens' groups like the women's political council and labor unions. perhaps even as an organized to defend recy taylor. after only a few weeks african-americans still deliver their own verdict in the case by driving a green into the red to it in fact the shut down greens grocery store, and that ability to shut down his gross restore
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constituted a major victory. not only did it establish a boycott as a powerful weapon for justice, but it also sent a message to whites that african-americans would no longer allow white men to disrespect, abuse, and finally to black women's bodies. now besides police officers, few are as guilty of these crimes as the city's bus operators who bullied and brutalize black passengers daily. worst, bus drivers had police powers. they carried often done and they assaulted and sometimes even killed african-americans who violate it the racial order of jim-crow. 1953 alone african-americans filed over 42 claims of abuse and mistreatment on the buses. most of these complaints came from black women, mostly working-class women who were domestic who made the bulk of the montgomery city lines writer ship.
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drivers through a nasty situlas insults, touched inappropriately and often physically abused them. one woman was sexually harassed as she waited on the corner. the bus was of high, she said, and the street was down close. they drive up and expose themselves while i was just standing there. it scared me to death. another one noted a lack woman was treated as rough as can become she said, as if we are some kind of animal. that treatment on the buses demonstrated they were not worthy of respect or of protection. this belief was part of a longstanding pattern that allowed white men to use and abuse black women for the better part of even the 20th century. when we consider this within the spectrum of racial and sexual violence with rape on one end and these daily indignities on the other, attacks on black
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women's body and integrity underscore both their physical and their sexual portability and a racial system, so it was a much easier not to mention for black women to just stop riding the buses than it was to bring their assailant often bus drivers and police officers, to justice. in fact, without these women, the bus boycott would have failed. african-american women in the day-to-day operation of the boycott. the everyday details. they stuffed the elaborate system that cast the boycott running. they raised most of the local money for the movement. they fill the majority of the views of the mass meetings where they testified publicly about physical and sexual abuse on the buses. bye walking hundreds of miles to protest humiliation, african-american women reclaim their bodies and demanded to be treated with dignity and
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respect. and so while the montgomery bus boycott is often portrayed as a spontaneous and often made of movement is important to note the bus boycott has passed. it's rooted in the black women had from racial and sexual violence, and i think that it's impossible for us to understand and situate the boycott in its proper light historical context without understanding the stories of recy taylor and gertrude perkins and the others who were mistreated in montgomery. in fact, without this history, it's impossible for us to understand why so many black women walked for so long to protest mistreatment on the buses. now montgomery was not the only place where attacks on black women fuelled protest against white supremacy. civil rights campaigns in little rock arkansas, the heroine of the little rock school desegregation campaign had used the newspaper for a decade to
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publicly shame white men who felt that black women. albany georgia in 1962 where local people organized to defend black women in the albany state college from white man who frequently broke into their dorms and prowled around the campus is at night. or birmingham and selma, alabama, in the early 1960's police and bus drivers were notorious for their racist and sexist practices. or mississippi during the 1964 freedom summer, where black women activists who were arrested were often beaten and sexually abused while they were in prison. all fees major campaigns had an organized resistance to sexualized violence and political appeal to defend black womenhood to read this to the literature that focuses on the world of black and white women and the operation of gender in the movement, and now the little or no role in most histories of
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the african-american freedom struggle, even as we focus on a racist violence against black and white men, like emmitt help and good men and chain. all of these provide examples of racist brutality that we ignore what happened to black women. in order to truly understand the civil rights movement we need to understand these stories. we need to understand this history. the sexual exploitation of black women of course had its root in slavery. slave owners still can access to a woman's body strength and their political, social and economic power for two reasons. one, that colonial laws made the offspring of sleeve when in the property of their master, giving slave owners a financial incentive to abuse their sleeves to become slaves and the colonial laws the ban the intermarriage but not fornication or childbirth out of wedlock awarded the may access
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to black and white women while denying black women the respectability and rights granted by a legal relationship. these laws created a system that allowed white man to sleep with white women and sexually abused black women with impunity. both of which maintained wightman position on top political and economic power structure. after slavery fell, these often remained. for example, during the reconstruction, former slaveholders and sympathizers used violence to reassert control over freed people. in fact race became a weapon of terror and interracial became a battleground of time which black men and women fought for ownership and control of their very own bodies. so interracial rate was deployed as a justification for lynching black man who violate any aspect of the racial status quo even though they were often accused of attacking white women.
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so in order to maintain power and control, whites created the myth of the black rapists portraying them as a attacking white women while they slept, and they used this image whenever they feared leaving power. for example, white democrats in north carolina used the image in 1900 to leading political control after the biracial fusion party took every single statewide office in 1898. black women like ida b. wells who led the crusade against lynching in the 1890's argued that white men accused black man of rape as part of a, quote, larger system of intimidation. she argued they have their own barbers on the attack on black women. she knew white men attacked a black women on an almost ritual fashion without the jim crow
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era. now black women were victimized to be sure, but that the industry is not just about victimization. many black women who were raped or insulted fought back by speaking out. from a slave narrative of henry jacobs to ida b. wells to gertrude perkins african-american women it describes and denounced their sexual misused deeply into their voices as weapons in the war against white supremacy. but for every woman that spoke out, there were undoubtedly many more who kept these brutal attacks to themselves. and silence can be a useful strategy especially when the use of violence and sexual abuse to shore up white supremacy. for example african-american leaders embrace the politics of respectability and adhere to a culture of silence as a matter of political necessity during the brutal backlash unleashed for the 1950's supreme court
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decision outlawing segregation in public schools. for many supporters of segregation, integration always meant miscegenation for a mississippi judge and founder of the white citizens council, tom brady, amalgamation. hud funds in the citizens, the newspapers warned whites of the and to this was coming. mixed marriage, sex orgies and accounts of black men of raping white girls were, quote, typical of story is slipping back from a year as for racial integration is proceeding with all deliberate. in fact here the citizens council leader espousing these theories. islamic don't you ever give up that gun, that's all you've got to protect that little baby in the crib because these doherty devils will be in your home. that's what they want. they do not want a quality.
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you know they don't want a quality. they don't want something like you've got, they want what you've got. your women. >> because segregationists in played these scare tactics particularly the myth of the black rapist to oppose brown and cultivate fear and resentment to integration. any gender or racial impropriety on the part of african-americans could be viewed as threatening the social order. this is why african-americans in montgomery chose rosa parks as a symbol of the movement instead of the many other black women who could have easily filled that role. and so while silence was used at times for political reasons it's near universal adoption among scholars despite evidence to the contrary created a delayed in the historical record. by assuming silence, historians have left important milestones in the civil rights movement that i hope my work captures.
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for example, the artists, trials and convictions of white men for raping a black college student in a tallahassee, florida in 1959 was a watershed event. the willingness of her to testify against her assailant focused national attention on the sexual exploitation of black women at the hands of white men. and all white jury handed down a life sentence it not only broke the southern tradition, but fractured the philosophical and political foundations of white supremacy by challenging the legal relationship based on those colonial era laws that i mentioned earlier that in sexual domination and racial inequality but perhaps for the first time since reconstruction, southern blacks could imagine state power being deployed in defense has their own personhood.
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betty jean omans grandmother recognized the importance of this historic decision. she said i lived to see the day where white men really could be brought to trial for what they did. the tallahassee case led to convictions elsewhere that summer in montgomery, alabama; in raleigh, north carolina; and in britain, south carolina, where a white marion actually received a death penalty for raping a black woman. that is the first one that i found, and it was overturned on appeal. but in each case, white supremacy faltered in the state of the courageous black women who testified on there on behalf. the editor of south carolina's white house and former newspaper wondered if these convictions pointed to a new day. the fourth intimacy, she says, goes back to the days of slavery when our women wore a cattle property of white men.
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are we now witnessing the arrival of our women, he says? ar de gaining the emancipation that they have made it? he recognized freedom was meaningless without ownership and control of your own body. desegregation and equality meant little if you cannot walk down the street unmolested. as they put it a year later, the freedom struggle was bigger than a hamburger. as a result, the 1959 tallahassee case was a major civil rights milestone. 1965 case in hattiesburg mississippi waanother milestone that historians had to refuse a clip testimony about a girl's vulnerability in the segregated south. >> i went to babysit for a white family, and the white woman called me upstairs.
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i went upstairs in a hurry so as not to keep the white woman waiting. she said he wants to see you and i looked in the bed and he was fleeing their in the bed so filthy and i said yes, what do you want with me? and he immediately pulled me down into the bed and had intercourse with me. i was 11-years-old that day was my birthday. there was no reason to tell my mother or father because they couldn't do anything about it. so many times girls were tossed into bathrooms, never telling our parents what happened. >> the tenuousness of black life that's more than physical scars. it also left deep psychological
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wounds. >> i have all kind of fantasies fascinated by people. i would use my favorite biblical characters who kicked folks butt i used to go in the woods and preach and screaming and fight, taking trees, pretending they were white folks. ♪ >> so you learn how to negotiate your life with white folks, and i guess you also learn the fear associated with them of how much power they actually held over you. how could determine whether you continue to live or whether you
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die. >> after more than two decades of black women's brief testimony in mississippi and community efforts to protect them from white sexual violence, and all white jury finally sentenced norman tannin, a 19 year old white man come to life in prison for raping a black teenager in 1965. major newspapers hailed the conviction as a sign that even mississippi was finally making serious changes. like the montgomery movement, the 1965 selma campaign has an important pre-history rooted in such a list violence by historians have not yet explored. after the 1964 freedom summer, federal intervention and congressional action on behalf of african-americans left segregationists reeling. in some alabama the staunchest supporters of segregation used the fear of interracial sex and the rhetoric of rape to
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resuscitate and revive jim crow. and they used a kind of sexual mccarthyism to discredit the voting rights act and defaming the demonstrators to their lives and the selma and montgomery march. civil rights activists were no longer just outside agitators were communists. now they were sexual scenes. spotting a culture of depravity around the country. so it was within that storm and because of it that the ku klux klan murder of viola lluzzo, a white house life in detroit who defied the gender or age by increasing the black freedom struggle. her detractors of course accused her of embracing black men. now if we incorporate the race and sexual violence and the well-known civil rights narrative is, we change the historical markers in the movement. while the voting rights act is often referenced as the book and of the civil rights movement, one of the last legal barriers
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to black women's bodily integrity fell in 1967 when the supreme court band laws prohibiting interracial marriage and landmark living versus virginia decision. this law was routed in the colonial era laws that i mentioned earlier, and so the ban on interracial marriage is one of the last vestiges of slavery so far. but only by the decision was the black women's bodily integrity and freedom from racial and sexual terror can and be properly recognized as a major marker in the civil rights movement. not the right of black women to defend themselves from sexual violence was tested in the 1975 trial of joanne rebel. she was a petite 20-year-old african-american inmates in the county jail in washington, north carolina. one night in august of 1974,
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clarence a 62-year-old sheriff in turn herself. he allegedly threatened her with an ice pick and sexually assaulting her. during the attack, little somehow managed to grab the ice pick from him and proceeded to stab him to death. as a little prepared for trial, for murder, a broad coalition of supporters from the national organization of women to the black panther party rallied to her defense. the free show and little movement the organizations that formed to protect recy taylor in 1944. like the committee of equal justice for mrs. recy taylor, the free joan little movement was led primarily by african-american women in. and i will say this, in detroit, the free joan little movement was led by rosa parks. at her trial, defense attorneys tried to paint little as a typical black jezreel, a
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stereotype rooted in slavery. the credibility and they portray her as a prostitute. the suggested little actually wanted to have sex with the jailer but she seduced him and then killed him in an elaborate plot to escape. little's attorney on the other hand, said her story until much longer context. committed to the jury long passage from an african-american woman's 1982 essay for black protection and sexual vulnerability in the system for a white man could use them regularly. by reading the passage aloud and pointing to decades of abuse in the past, people witnessed black women's longstanding traditions of testimony and their attempt for dignity. after deliberating for over an hour, the jury unanimously voted to acquit joan little of murder. and the jury is men for their
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verdict, little broke into sobs in the defense table and her lawyers clustered around her. why did away tears and perhaps channelling john coo in 1951 wondered of black women finally achieved emancipation, she said it feels good to be free. now this cartoon in the baltimore afro-american hailed the verdict as a major victory. here, little is portrayed as a champion boxer standing atop a bruised and battered jim crow. hoisting little's gloves into the air, her attorneys proclaimed victory and a triumph over a jim-crow racism. with stars swirling it on his head, looking tired and kind of overweight and his confederate shorts, old jim crow is finally down for the count. if we are to fully understand the role of gender and sexuality in the civil rights movement,
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and if we are going to provide what are now being called a truly loaded cost accounting of white supremacy, then we've got to include analyses of sexual violence and rape, testimony and protest that remain at the bottom floor of the modern civil rights movement. thank you for coming tonight. [applause] >> i guess now we have ambient sound. [inaudible] right here. right here in the red. >> what got you on to this
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research in the beginning? tell us the story about it. >> it's a great question. it was 1998, and i was a master student of the university of wisconsin, and i was helping my professor claim his office. i guess that is what i got paid to do as an assistant. [laughter] and we were listening to npr and heard them talk about gertrude perkins on npr. and i just stopped in my tracks and i said and what i said to you tonight, who the heck is gertrude perkins? and it was so shocking to me that he thought she had something to do with the montgomery bus boycotts, this woman in 1949, that i felt compelled to go to the archives and dig up old newspapers and read about gertrude perkins. and so, i found the story, and i didn't really know what to do with it. it was the first story that i found about this issue about sexual violence in the south. and there was no way to connected to the montgomery bus boycott of the time. there was no context. and so i put it aside.
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and i didn't really know what to do with it. and a couple of months later, i was working on this tallahassee case. my professor had stumbled across it in researching a book about robert williams, a militant naacp leader in north carolina, and he said this is an interesting story. why don't you look at this? and i said okay. and i started to look into that case and the story. and i developed my master's thesis, and again, i put it aside. i finished my master's and went to work for two years and didn't know what to do with it. when i came back to graduate school a couple years later, i said there's got to be more to this. this can't just be held later. i read about this happening in slavery, and i don't know if it ended during the period after slavery so that we look into it. and i started reading what newspapers and the front pages of black newspapers have these stories plastered all over them and i was just shocked as a graduate student i had been
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reading these history books and none of them talked about what was on the front pages of black newspapers for a decade. so i just started doing more and more research and slowly but surely these puzzle pieces came together to tell me a bigger story about the civil rights movement. so it took a long time. >> in terms of your research, did you have opportunities for interviews or put of their sources and the the did you have besides newspapers? >> thank you. i did interview number of people. in fact i was very lucky to interview recy taylor, who the woman who was raped in 1944 by the white man. she will be 91 this year. she's still alive and waiting for justice. she is still waiting for justice. i felt blessed to be able to talk to her and i interviewed other women in birmingham and a
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handful of people in montgomery. i use a lot of interviews that i found in the archives where the historians may have asked a question and somebody talked about what happened to them but they never really followed up. i looked at court documents and tried to get the court proceedings trial transcript and stuff like that. i got a lot of on the tallahassee report. in the cases i write it in mississippi the transcripts went missing a word or thrown away or destroyed after nine years and i talked told attorneys on some of these cases. i have not spoken to any of the assailants. although a couple of them are still in prison for other crimes committed after they were released but i was sort of afraid to talk to them. so it was a lot of digging. through the archives come through court records, old newspapers and then talking to people on the ground. >> did the white wives get upset
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enough for their husbands that that would stop the rapes or not? >> not that i found. but it wasn't a focus of my inquiry. i do think that white women's silence made them somewhat complex it in these cases and you see that during slavery in particular but there were a handful of white women who organized particularly the association of white women, southern white women for the prevention of lynching in the 1930's to really call out the use of the rapists to protect white womanhood and they said we are tired of using this tactic in our name. we cannot use it any longer. it's not about us, it's about you, and so there were women who spoke out in an she was a pioneer for justice in the south during but most i think had been out to start.
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>> thank you. thank you for your work. it is intriguing and so rich. i'm curious, my mother was born in a salt of rape and her family -- she was in aberdeen mississippi. that's where she was born and the family fled to cleveland as part of the great migration. and i would like to know whether there was any exploration of children who were born as a result of this sexual violence and how the women themselves and their families dealt with them. >> thank you. >> i'm really sorry to hear that story although i will say that story is very common and a lot of women i spoke to tell that story. particularly about the grandmothers.
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the cases i steadied as far as i know do not result in any children the attacks do not result in any children. but a lot of the black women who were attacked left town and the often came back home. recy taylor didn't leave. she stayed where her family was under death threats regularly. her father, in fact she moved in with her father and he stayed up at night in the backyard perched in the branches of an old tree with a stack of shells and a shotgun ready to ward off any nightriders. a lot of women and left it as a part of the great migration because this is one of those push factors pushing people out of sexual violence and a lot of people stayed. i think for as many women who testified about these crimes, there were many more who remained silent and buried the stories and kept on with their daily lives never expecting justice and just hoping to
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continue along with their daily activities. that is what recy taylor did in many ways. betty left town for a while and went back to tallahassee and some of the other women that i've written about, sometimes there's doherty in this in the archive and you don't hear back from them. you don't know what happened for sure. as of its kind of an air but the story is not surprising. it's very common. >> i would like to hear more about rosa parks. i remember you saying she was one of the best investigators there were going to send her for the recy taylor incident, and also what is the rest of her life like in that investigation story and what did she say about being tired at the time? is that something she bought one of? >> she protested that statement and said the only tie your i was was tired of being mistreated.
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that isn't really new history. i wrote about that before and rosa parks, her activist history is well known i think for the scholars of the civil rights movement. although the popular presentation is still as matronly seamstress as if she didn't do anything else except sold people's clothing all day, so it was she worked as the secretary of montgomery naacp from 1943 through the montgomery bus boycott, and in that role she didn't just take notes during meetings as the title implies, but she was a detective. what that meant is that she traveled to alabama often at great risk in order to document the crimes that were committed against african-americans and she would take those stories back to montgomery where she and other people in power would decide whether or not to launch a campaign or bring legal charges. they use a kind of cruel tree osh in a way to figure out which cases could be used as a public
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protest in which cases they had to keep quiet and they had to figure out which cases were politically possible to bring forward public campaigning. so she did that. she was the grandchild of [inaudible] and raised to believe in black power and a black nationalism. her grandfather believed in self-defense and so did she. she spoke at the funeral of robert, shockingly. we forget about that rosa parks and resorts would give a eulogy for a man who stood up for self-defense and was deprived during the 1960's for his militancy. she married a man who carried a pistol are now town and was one of the early organizers in the montgomery naacp and a defender who when put on trial and jail for many years accused of raping
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white women on an alabama freight train. so she did a lot of things involved in her story and said the montgomery bus boycott but she marched in every campaign and the civil-rights movement and then continued her activism in detroit where as i noted in 1975, she basically headed the detroit branch of the three joan little kennedy said she continued to be the antirepacked of some at a time now everyone thinks it is popular because the women's movement had made speak out politically feasible for black women like rosa parks had been doing it for a long time. so she's much more interesting than the textbooks portray and much more militant. she's a radical in her own right and i think that we do her a disservice by remembering the tired rosa parks and not the militant rosa parks. >> thank you for writing this book. i graduated from wayne state
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university in 1986. in the case of ms. viola lluzzo, two or three men were with her yet she was killed and they didn't bother the rest of them -- >> i'm sorry i didn't hear the case. >> in the case of mrs. viola lluzzo she was killed but rather to or three other young men with her at the time? >> she was in the car with a young man who was about 19. he pretended he was dead in order to save himself and the klan members who murdered viola lluzzo from the car window, they were in a high-speed chase on the highway and the shot at her out of the car window, murdered her, veered off the side of the road. they got out of the car and went to the car to make sure both passengers were dead and in order to make them believe he was dead and as soon as the car pulled away, he jumped out and tried to flag down the next car that happened to be a car of the
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workers and voting rights activists to tell them what happened. there were other murders in the summer campaign of course besides viola lluzzo, but that might it was just her. >> thank you very much for this refreshing perspective on the civil rights movement. one of the things that drew me here tonight is the title of your book, and as a historian myself i know that some of the things to do in terms of writing history is to decide on a title because you want your title to be catching and you want your title to be attractive, and i like the fact that you point to a new history of the civil rights movement. i also wondered about your decision of using rosa parks
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instead of recy taylor if you thought about that and if it's crossed your mind to say from recy taylor of black power or rosa parks of the drawling out [inaudible] and once you then come up with -- estimate i will be very honest about this answer and that is the top part of the title "at the dark end of the street support was mine. i picked that out. my editor but the subtitle and we worked on it together but i wanted to just be black women, reid and resistance and she said no, no interest in more than that so we ended up with this long title that takes two minutes to say out loud and to get the entire cover of the book. but i ended up really liking it because i found it explained exactly what the book was about candidates ackley what you said. it challenged rosa parks history
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and to people in. i wrote -- recy taylor is on the cover. another question? >> they are going to come with a microphone. >> what about joan little. what happened with the rest of her life? joan little is a very interesting case because she was an inmate, she was a criminal and she had a pretty shady history. most people in her community didn't like her. her parents had a hard time with torian she was a the kind of person people wanted to rally around. she was no rosa parks so the attorneys in her case had to work really hard to present her as a respectable woman who was
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acting in self-defense as opposed to any kind of premeditated is the plan -- escapes plan. fer weigel she did speak engagements with the black panther party and then she kind of drifted off and very few people heard from her again. she didn't speak up at speaking engagements after a bit and was late for appointments and then there's an article of her being arrested with a shotgun in her car in brooklyn and then that's it, sort of archival what trail and i don't know what happened to her since then. but i struggle really hard with the joan little case because of the other women i work on and testimony that i read whose evidence i gather i believed in the core and i wondered for a long time whether or not joan little was telling the truth and whether she was a protagonist to
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get behind. but ultimately i think listening to her testimony and listening to her attorneys talk about her and reading the transcript why believed her because i don't think she could have gone up there and pretend that her way out of that murder case. she was smart and have a little bit of a criminal mind, but she wasn't making this up. the charnel transcripts make that clear in this case i'm grateful the trial transcripts are still available. the judges notes are there at chapel hill in the library in trouble hill, north carolina, and so she was an interesting case. >> it's probably my foot notes.
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i can give it to you at the end. it is a compendium of black women testimony and speeches and thoughts. i can't remember the title of it. do you know? >> [inaudible] samet something like that. it's in my foot notes. it is an older book but it's full of really good information. really good primary source document. >> can you quantify your measure in some ways to what extent this oppression of black women and violence against white people, how much that influence, the civil rights movement did it happen sooner or more widespread and forcefully or can you give some insight? >> that's another great question. i think that these cases and public protest of these cases were very prominent in the 1940's and the early 1950's and
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they kind of when something like this happens a lot of organizations rallied to promote these cases as examples of southern bortolotti and it's as examples of an american behavior particularly at a time when the united states was at war in europe. and so, these cases were useful political tools and african-americans recognized the deep chasm between the rhetoric of american democracy and the reality of jim-crow. but by the 1950's when the politics shifted and there was a brutal backlash to the brown decision it made it harder to talk about sexual violence and politics and made it more difficult for african americans in the liberal organizations to promote these cases as sort of propaganda case is to highlight some other an injustice.
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so what i found is that these cases sort of ed and flown in terms of public knowledge and public propaganda, but that day on the ground sort of serve to motivate people to not only joined the naacp but also small southern towns to form a branch of the naacp. and so, what these stories told me was more about what local people, with ordinary everyday people were concerned about on a day-to-day basis. it was good to get voting rights, very important, crucial to have citizenship recognized, but what would it mean if you could vote but you couldn't walk home from church without being abducted and assaulted and your assailant walked free? so some of this is but ordinary local people needed to accomplish daily and on a day-to-day basis, so i think that sparked civil rights campaigns and did so in the form
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of a catalyst working to bring people together to form local naacp chapters and campaigns for civil rights to respond this may be a bit of an unfair question to ask about a work of history, but as you went through this work, thinking about the world we live in today, do you find any residents when you study and what you wrote about for the world we are living and now? >> short. i think that in order to understand the way that black women are portrayed in the path media will need to understand this history petraeus wallsten black women are object side and subjugated and their bodies are sexualized, not just by white men but by everyone. and so that is rooted in this past. that is the jezebel right there, and i think if we look at the way that michelle obama is treated today there is a focus on her body in a way that i don't remember anybody talking about


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